Sunday, March 31, 2019

Jeddah Sculpture - Mameluke Minarets

This sculpture of Jeddah is called The Mameluke Minarets.  It is the work of Egyptian artist Salah Abdulkarim.  The materials used to make this work of art were copper over a steel frame.  Yje Mameluke Minarets sculpture is located at the entrance to the old part of Jeddah called Al Balad.  Currently this sculpture is in need of some TLC.  The copper is actually quite beautiful when it is cleaned.  To see a more vivid photo I took of this sculpture a few years ago, CLICK HERE. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Old Jeddah - More Doors of Al Balad

Part of the charm of Al Balad is its imperfections.  Above is another beautifully carved wood door of Al Balad.  The arched opening above the door is for ventilation.  Note how the steps leading to the door are uneven heights. I love the shadows from the top of another building fall across the doorway. 

In the photo below, the landing for the green metal door is not lined up with the door.  There is a pipe sticking out at the left below the door, so I'm guessing this is the reason why the step is off center with the door.  I have no idea what purpose the slanted piece of wood above the door serves.

The orange metal door below is another example of imperfections.  Someone attempted to paint the walls around the door, but it looks like some of the white paint got on the door.  Sloppy workmanship in construction is fairly commonplace here in Saudi Arabia...

Friday, March 29, 2019

Jeddah Street Signs of Al Balad

The lovely old street markers of Al Balad are attached at the corners of the sides of the buildings.  They are written in both Arabic and English and have a beautiful Arabesque border decorating the outer edges.  I have seen replicas being sold as souvenirs.  

Thursday, March 28, 2019

SkyWatch - Looking Upward in Al Balad

All of the oldest buildings in the old district of Jeddah, called Al Balad, are built of crushed coral and have wood details for the windows.  Back when Jeddah was a small fishing village (it is over 1400 years old), glass was not used for the windows. Instead, window coverings were made of slatted wood to provide air flow and ventilation.  These window coverings are called roshan. Many of them were not flush with the walls, but extended out. The roshan are usually painted in shades of brown, blue, or green.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Jeddah's Al Balad

Most of the buildings of Al Balad are several stories high along very narrow streets.  They were built tall to provide shade and create air movement, thereby making the city cooler for its residents.  Because many of the buildings were built of crushed coral from the Red Sea - not exactly the sturdiest of building materials - a great many of the structures have collapsed and crumbled over the years.  Since Al Balad was named a UNESCO World Heritage site a few years ago, measures have been taken to preserve some of the buildings in the area. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Jeddah's Old City - Doors of Al Balad

Above this old door in Al Balad is an fan shaped arch of wrought iron, which allows for air flow.  I'm not sure if this building is slated for renovations, as many of the buildings are.  It does have some interesting details.

The orange door below is made of metal.  Many of the doors in Jeddah are metal, painted in a wide variety of colors.  The older ones are often rusted, which gives them character and beauty.  I like the fleur de lis detailing at the top of the building below, but it obviously hasn't weathered well over the years.  And I love the carved details of the door below and the arch above it.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Our World - Blues of Al Balad, The Old City

Many of the wooden architectural details of Old Jeddah are painted in shades of blue.  Above is a section of an old door of Al Balad, the oldest district of Jeddah.  Its intricate carvings make it one of the most beautiful in the area.

These old style window coverings are called roshan.  The ones above are newer and replaced older ones that were too damaged to fix.  The roshan were slatted and made in different geometric designs.

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Saudi Arabia: Baboon Habitat

The native Hamadryas Baboon of Saudi Arabia resides in the mountainous areas, mostly in the southern and western regions of the country.  The below photo above shows an area between Medina and Jeddah where the baboons typically live.

I was shocked when we were driving by on the highway and saw a busload of religious pilgrims hand feeding the baboons fruit and taking photos.  The baboons are wild animals and can be very aggressive, especially when food is involved. 

The closer they came to our vehicle, the higher up our windows went!  We weren't taking any chances with the unpredictable creatures.

I'm sure the tourists got some great photos, but it was at great risk of harm to themselves, one we weren't willing to take!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Saudi Arabia - Mama and Baby Baboons

The baby baboons of Saudi Arabia are adorable and are carried around by their mothers.  The photo above shows a baby riding on his mam's back, while the baby in the photo below can be seen peeking out as it clings to mama's underbelly.  

Baboons of Saudi Arabia

The Hamadryas Baboon is native to Saudi Arabia and Yemen and some parts of Africa.  They live and thrive in the moutainous areas of the country.  Sometimes called the "sacred baboon," these baboons were revered by the ancient Egyptians and were an important part of ancient Egyptian religion.

The males are quite distinctive looking, with a long silvery mane and cape of hair that they keep neatly combed.  Females lack the silvery cape and are just covered in brown fur.  Another distinct feature of the Hamadryas Baboon is a large hairless area that is bright pink or red on their backsides where they sit. 

In today's modern world, however, these baboons can be a nuisance and a danger to people and agriculture here in this region.  They have attacked school children, spread disease, and have destroyed farms and crops.  The baboons travel in large packs, and while they appear to be cute and people love to photograph them, they are wild animals that can become aggressive.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Saudi Arabia - Yanbu Flower Festival Still Going On

We aren't going to the Yanbu Flower Festival this year, but I just wanted to remind everyone that it's still going on now through the end of March.  If you have never been before, it's definitely worth attending.  It's a very well organized event, and every year they change it up a bit.

The splashes of color all over are a happy treat for the soul.  Admission is free for everyone. Food and drinks are available for purchase, as well as souvenirs and gardening supplies.  Hotel prices in Yanbu are reasonable and there are many places to stay, even on the more crowded weekends.  There are only two weekends left - don't miss it. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

SkyWatch: Sunset in Riyadh

A beautiful sunset in the capital city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - and a big "Thanks" to my friend and amazing photographer Abdullah Yahya for allowing me to share this beautiful photo for today's post.  Follow him on Twitter @ayaa1977

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Monday, March 18, 2019

Our World: Jeddah Wudu for Prayer

"Wudu" is the term for the purification ritual that is required of Muslims before each prayer.  It is also called ablution.  Wudu is also performed before one handles and reads the Quran.   There is a certain procedure and order that one must follow in washing the hands, mouth, nostrils, head, feet and other body parts prior to praying.  From one prayer to the next, it is possible to maintain Wudu as long as one doesn't invalidate it by farting, peeing, pooping, having sex, or sleeping.

Most mosques have facitilites outside, consisting of a place to sit and water, where Wudu can be done before entering the mosque for prayer.  For more information and details about Wudu, CLICK HERE.

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Jeddah Fishies Sculpture

Jeddah is called The City of Art because there are hundreds of public art sculptures about the landscape of the city.  No one really knows an exact count of how many sculptures there actually are in Jeddah.  Some have actually been destroyed by the elements, as they were made of inapprpriate materials for this harsh climate.  The extremem heat, the salty sea air, the lack of rain and the constant dust are brutal for many materials.  This sculpture of whimsical fish is made of a metal alloy that weathers the elements of Jeddah's climate quite well.  Sorry I don't have any information about the artist or the sculpture iteself. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Jeddah Stained Glass Entrance

It's often surprising what I don't notice while driving places around the city until I get back and look at the photos I've taken as I just Click Click Click while zooming by in a moving car.  This isn't a great photo, but I really loved seeing the beautiful stained glass entrance of this building.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

SkyWatch: Jeddah's Al Anani Mosque

The Al Anani Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques in Jeddah.  It is positioned right on the Red Sea.  It is also bordered by a lovely park with a walkway shaded by rows of palm trees. 

There is a  tiled sculpture of a blue crescent moon directly in front of the mosque.  The crescent moon is an important feature in Islam, marking the beginning and the the end of the holy month of Ramadan - the month long observance when Muslims fast during the daylight hours.  Ramadan will begin on about May 5th of this year, depending on the sighting of the crescent moon.

The photo below is another nearby sculpture close to the Al Anani Mosque.  This sculpture is actually made of old fashioned cooking pots used for making rice and is the first sculpture of Jeddah to be made by a Saudi artist and a woman to boot.  Maha Malluh is the sculptor who created "Food for Thought."

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Jeddah - Friendly Saudi Women

One thing I love about living in Saudi Arabia is its people. Saudis are very warm, gracious, generous, and welcoming.  Frequently I am approached by Saudi women who ask me if they can take a photo with me, ask me where I am from, etc., and they like to chit chat a bit about a variety of things. When I first moved here, I used to think the niqab (the face veil that many Saudi women wear) meant that they wanted to be left alone, but I have come to realize that it doesn't mean that at all. I wish the rest of the world could know the Saudi people the way I have been able to... 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Monday, March 11, 2019

Our World - Saudi Arabia Mini Teacups

Saudis drink a lot of tea - and a lot of coffee too.  Tea is usually offered to guests in miniature glass tea cups, that may or may not have a handle.  Most often the teacups are fancifully decorated, many times with gold accents.

I love the teacups above decorated with Arabic writing in gold.  I've bought these teacups before and given them as gifts.  They are usually sold in sets but sometimes can be bought individually.

Be sure to visit OUR WORLD TUESDAY, where family-friendly bloggers share a unique glimpse into what life is like all around our ever-amazing planet.